In my first article on simulating tilt-shift miniature faking with the GIMP I linked to instructions from Gimparoo!. Firstly, these instructions are no longer completely correct on the latest version of the GIMP because some of the menu sequences used have changed. Secondly, I’ve been looking at other sets of instructions on the web for doing this with PhotoShop and comparing them to the Gimparoo! instructions (particularly these instructions). What I’ve found is that the Gimparoo! instructions are not entirely complete so I’ve decided to write my own.

As usual I want to stress that I am not making any claims that these instructions are in any way definitive. There may well be WAY better ways of doing this. What I’m saying is that this is the best way I’ve found of doing it so far and that it works for me.

[tags]Tilt-shift Photography, Tilt-shift, photography, GIMP, miniature faking, photo editing[/tags]

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Following on from last week’s expiry of Beta 2 of their Remote Desktop Connection software for the Mac MS have released Beta 3 this week. I’ve just given it a quick test-run and the bottom line is that I’ll be sticking with CoRD rather than changing back to MS Remote Desktop Connection. All in all this beta is a bit of a mixed bag.

First, the good stuff:

  • The annoying nag screen telling you to update is gone, yay! 🙂
  • When you enter your login details they are actually correctly passed on to the target machine so auto logging in now works for me where as it always failed with Beta 2.
  • There is now a simple option to start a new session: File -> New Connection. This has been missing for so long that I’m happy to see it. Unfortunately it’s badly implemented, it opens an entire separate instance instead of opening a second window within the one instance. Far from ideal but a step in the right direction none-the-less.
  • KeyChain integration seems to actually work properly now.

As well as the short-comings in the way multiple simultaneous sessions are handled there are also another few down sides:

  • The application still crashes each and every time I try to disconnect from a server.
  • Rather than use Apple’s crash reporter MS have replaced it with their own which send the info straight to Redmond (good), but unlike the Apple one it does NOT show you what it is sending before it sends it. So God only knows what all is being phoned home to Redmond!

[tags]RDP, Remote Desktop Connection, Microsoft, Windows, Mac, OS X, CoRD[/tags]

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Tilt-Shift Photography With the GIMP

Filed Under Photography on April 14, 2008 | 3 Comments

Tilt-Shift photography is an interesting technique which can be used to make the real world look like a miniature model. The ‘right’ way to do it is with a special Tilt-Shift lens but they are not cheap. Hence, people have found ways of cheating by taking the shot with a regular lens and then adding in the Tilt-Shift effect later during post-processing. I found a nice tutorial for doing this with the GIMP today so I figured I’d give it a go.

Unfortunately it takes a certain kind of shot for this to work well and it turns out I don’t have any well-suited images in my library. I did find one shot that was close to what was needed so I had a go with that. The results aren’t great but I guess it gives some sort of idea of what I’m on about. I’m going to keep an eye out for opportunities for taking suitable shots and should I succeed I’ll post back with my results. In the mean time, here’s some examples of how it should be done.

Tilt-Shift example

Update (16 April 2008): I’ve created my own more current and more detailed tutorial here.

[tags]Tilt-Shift, Photography, GIMP[/tags]

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At the request of @indieradiochatt this is just a quick and dirty guide for accessing a Windows XP machine from your Mac using RDP. The first step is to enable Desktop Sharing on your Windows box. To do this you go to the System applet in the Control Panel and select the Remote tab. Then just check the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer checkbox (see screen shot). If you use the Windows firewall this is all you’ll need to do, if you use a custom firewall you’ll have to figure out how to let in RDP traffic.

Then you just need an RDP client for the Mac like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection or the free and open source CoRD. You should now be able to connect to your Windows XP machine with either of these clients using the NetBIOS name of the Windows machine (or its IP address), your Windows username & password and your Windows Domain (if applicable). That should be all there is to it.

Setting up RDP Screen Shot

[tags]Remote Desktop Protocol, RDP, Windows, Mac, CoRD[/tags]

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RDP on OS X Revisited

Filed Under Computers & Tech on April 6, 2008 | 3 Comments

In work I have a G5 PowerMac but I need to run one Windows application (our call tracking system). Since it’s not possible to run Windows on a G5 using Parallels or VMWare I use an RDP client to connect to a Windows machine I have in the office for testing purposes. Up till this week I’ve done this using Microsoft’s own RDP Client for the Mac. The first version of this client was very basic but functional. Last year Microsoft released two beta versions of the up-coming 2.0 release and I’ve been using those since they came out. These betas were an improvement on the 1.0 version but they are far from perfect and crash just about every time I close a connection. If it has to crash that’s probably the best time but still annoying However, this Week the annoyance factor for the MS client took an upward turn.

[tags]Microsoft, Remote Desktop Protocol, RDP, OS X, Apple, Mac, CoRD, SourceForge[/tags]

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NeoOffice has been around for ages and I keep expecting and wanting it to get better to the point where I don’t feel an urge to buy iWork or, heavens forbid, MS Office. I installed it on my work machine yesterday and I’m sorry to report they’re a LONG way off yet. Firstly, it does not play nice with Spaces so it’s simply not Leopard ready. Poor show at this stage of the game. Secondly, the spell checker is broken, AGAIN. I had problems with this during the very early days of NeoOffice and then they got it fixed but now it’s bust again. What good is a word-processor that can’t spell-check? It’s possible that the spell checking problem is showing up because my computer is configured to use British English rather than American English but that’s not a valid excuse.

NeoOffice is still sluggish, un-polished and buggy. I’m sorry to have to report that but it’s the truth. The sooner the native OS X port of OpenOffice comes out the better.

[tags]OS X, Leopard, OS X 10.5, OpenOffice, NeoOffice[/tags]

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Jing Project LogoBefore I explain what it is about Jing that makes me grumpy I’ll start by explaining what Jing is. The product was entirely designed around the idea of making it easy to show someone how to do something on a computer. Rather than trying to laboriously describe what to do step-by-step you simply fire up Jing and record yourself doing the task. It’s the standard a-picture-says-a-thousand-words idea. A very sound idea indeed. Jing also goes one step further and provides one-click web-publishing for your little screen-casts. So, it’s certainly safe to say that Jing is built around a very sound concept. My problems are with the implementation.

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Nice Update to SoundSource

Filed Under Computers & Tech on March 5, 2008 | 1 Comment

Rogue Amoeba have updated their freebie menubar app SoundSource. I reviewed the previous version a few months back and this new version is very similar. The big difference is the addition of volume sliders for input, output and system sound sources right in the menubar. This cool new feature is Leopard-only but the new version is still Tiger compatible. All-in-all I think this is a nice update to a free app I use a lot.

SoundSource Screen Shot

[tags]Rogue Amoeba, Sound Source, Freeware[/tags]

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I tend to avoid web apps because I don’t like having my apps stuck in a tab in a web browser. This makes it hard to command+tab to the app and impossible to assign that app to a particular space. I don’t use GMail but if I did I’m pretty sure I’d be using Mailplane to access it. Fluid is not as advanced as Mailplane but it does allow most webapps to be liberated from your browser.

[tags]Fluid, web applications[/tags]

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Twittering on the Mac Revisited

Filed Under Computers & Tech on February 9, 2008 | 1 Comment

It’s only been a week since I posted my first thoughts on Twittering on the Mac but already I need to make a correction and two additions. First to the correction, Twitterific is free, the website is just very confusing. You can use it for free but you get ads, and if you pay you don’t get ads. I gave Twitterific another go because I was quite hard on it last time. Turns out I was right the first time though, it’s not a particularly good client and it’s certainly not an inspirational piece of software. There are better clients out there for free.

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